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Poster: AltheaRose Date: Aug 18, 2011 10:39pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: The Dead and "Politics"

So, something said in the Victims thread got me thinking …

How many "political" songs DO the Dead have? Ummmm .... Throwin Stones, SotM, US Blues ... am I missing something obvious or is that it?

Both US Blues and Throwing Stones are adamantly non-prescriptive. US Blues can sure be analyzed lyrically in terms of dismay with the state of things, and Throwin Stones is very 80s and more direct, but ultimately in both of them the kids dance and shake their bones. So in a way, the dance is the answer. (They basically end up with another version of "If you get confused, listen to the music play ...")

IMO the weakest is SotM. which sounds as if they're trying too hard to get on the Late 80s WhateverAid Mainstream Pseudo-Political bandwagon. The music itself could have been effective with different lyrics, but the words really get in the way. (As I said elsewhere, I respond to music before lyrics, but bad lyrics can DEFINITELY get in the way for me.) I gather Aung San Suu Kyi likes it, though. That's nice.

Can anyone think of anything else? I guess Cream Puff War is really a portrait of a couple (a Sid and Nancy prototype?) though I’ve tended to hear it with overtones of the time. Probably I’m wrong, now that I think of it, and it's pretty much just about a messed-up couple :-)




This post was modified by AltheaRose on 2011-08-19 05:39:39

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Poster: dead-head_Monte Date: Aug 19, 2011 8:26am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Dead and 'Counter-Culture'

Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger are best known as American musicians whose legacy includes many famous political songs. This Land Is Your Land is one of the United States' most famous folk songs.

David Lemieux and I agree that The Grateful Dead was a Hippie Band with a Cowboy spin. The Grateful Dead helped lead The USA's Counter-Culture movement in The Haight-Ashbury area in the late 1960s.
http://www.archive.org/post/377354/interview-with-david-lemieux-re-e72

First, The Hippie movement is discussed by Jer, Phil, and Bob in The Hippie Temptation - 1967
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8zHmi9y-KLo

Next, The Haight-Ashbury Hippie Movement has its funeral, mentioned by Jerry & Hefner - Jan, 1969
Mountains of The Moon - from Playboy after dark
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NVqArOogY-c

This post was modified by dead-head_Monte on 2011-08-19 15:26:39

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Poster: polarized blue Date: Aug 19, 2011 12:50am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Dead and 'Politics'

How about the lyrics of One More Saturday Night? In a funny way you can see all sorts of stuff in there. And it's a simple and great song for dancing. There's the local armory, an establishment that could possibly be the target of a nightclub bombing at the stroke of midnight. Not to mention the fact there are armories located around the country- were they set up in the event of an invasion by a hostile aggressor, or to put weapons in the hands of the masses to start a revolution against a tyrannical government? Ok, maybe that's a stretch, but there is also the verse about God creating the Earth, and making sure it goes right through the night to meet the rising shining sun. Everybody knows how fun it is to mix religion and politics. And lastly the President and how sad he is at the state of the national affairs every time he turns on the news channel. He just want to have some fun like all the rest of us, but because of his position, he must still remain isolated in his bedroom listening to his old record player.

Ok, maybe it's not really political, but it sure does have some themes in it. So does Uncle John's Band and the Don't Tread on Me lyric, words from the old colonial flag. And New Speedway Boogie has references to the times they were living in. Alabama Getaway, I'm pretty sure that is a political song set in the historical context of the civil rights movement, but I could be dead wrong. Maybe all of these songs are just Americana celebrations of our view on the world immediately around us. I suppose we could find others, but I'm probably looking too deep, and missing your point of finding really political "protest" songs written by the songwriters. Maybe my references are only just highlighting great words and feelings created by Hunter and Co.

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Poster: AltheaRose Date: Aug 19, 2011 1:48am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Dead and 'Politics'

If you broaden it to "time-related," you could toss in Essau, though I think of that as sociological rather than political. Of course, "time-related" can become such a broad category that just about anything would fit in it. From almost any band, ever. (Fight for your Right to Party? Material Girl? LOL)

NSB jumps off from a "current event," which of course was personal to the band, but the darkness that's got to give just seems so much deeper than that -- thanks to the genius of Hunter, of course. Still, I do tend to see it as being partly about the darkness of the Vietnam era, when the flicker of light symbolized by Woodstock and the whole San Francisco "love and peace" vision -- in effect, the positive radical alternative to both the status quo and despair or unremitting anger -- was getting swallowed by the dark, with mere anarchy loosed upon the land, etc. Though it's not limited to that.

I guess Morning Dew was originally an anti-nuclear war song, right? But I have to honestly say I never, ever think of that when I hear the Dead do it.

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Poster: ringolevio Date: Aug 19, 2011 6:12am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Dead and 'Politics'

Gosh, I always thought of Morning Dew as their MOST political song!

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Poster: bkidwell Date: Aug 19, 2011 12:50pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Dead and 'Politics'

Hmm, I haven't seen anyone take up the question of SotM in particular, but I'm interested in what political message you read in the song? I've never heard it as being political. I hear the song as being about the loneliness of the performer on stage, and the emotional distance from the audience. My perspective on the song is that it is measuring the distance in time and psychic space from the original, close interpersonal relationships of the west coast counterculture, to the remoteness of the stadium-era "megadead" performances. Hunter, writing from the perspective of Garcia, is stuck "on the moon" (onstage in a stadium) and isolated from personal contact, and wishes instead to be "on a back porch in July" in a direct human context.

I hear the reference to war and world conflict just as a way of establishing that contrast and sense of distance, not as a political statement - because the song doesn't go in that direction, it doesn't address the nature of world conflict or make any value judgments about it, it just uses the image of the globe and human conflict and suffering as a way of painting the "big picture" to set up the move to the image of San Francisco on a summer night so it has emotional impact.

Do you think I'm off base in that interpretation? I've always absolutely loved the emotional arc of Standing on the Moon, the "back porch in July" lyric usually chokes me up a bit. I hear the politics in the song almost as artistic misdirection - the song seems to be going in a political direction, but then the curtain is pulled back and the real message is something totally different.

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Poster: AltheaRose Date: Aug 20, 2011 7:48pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Dead and 'Politics'

Well, I haven't listened to it a lot -- I don't think I even have a copy of a show with that in it, actually -- so my reaction is more instinctive. I like your interpretation, though I haven't heard it as a reference to the performer on the stage and distance from the audience.

Of course, when I think about it, you're right that it's not explicitly political or prescriptive ... it's really a lot like Throwin Stones. Actually, VERY much like it, in the sense that it starts way up in the sky and then takes a tour of the political or global situation before concluding with a version of ... well, not shake your bones in this case, but savor the moment or Be Here Now.

So, why do I react to them differently and think of SotM as more directly political? On reflection, I think I should really just say "less successful." I think it's partly that it's just so explicitly referential, and the "name dropping" goes on for so long and is so cliched (from a raging battle to "all of southeast Asia" to El Salvador to the "cries of children," of all things). So it's CNN's "Around the World in 30 Seconds," Hunter style. And in the "growing distance from the audience" interpretation, the idea of the performer seeing all of the world's places of pain and hearing "the cries of children" as part of his isolation and elevation is just ... annoying.

But I think a BIG part of the reason it strikes me that way is Garcia. He just has such an emotion-laden, effective singing presence that if HE sings "El Salvador," the impression is just magnified, LOL. Bob could probably add Nicaragua and Haiti and it wouldn't be as jarring to me. When Jerry sings El Salvador, you really HEAR El Salvador :-)

There are other reasons why I think SotM doesn't work as well as Throwin Stones, writing-wise (stop the presses! Barlow beats Hunter!) but I really do think that a big part of the reason I've read it as "more political" may just be Jerry's delivery!

This post was modified by AltheaRose on 2011-08-21 02:48:36

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Poster: bkidwell Date: Aug 20, 2011 7:37pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Dead and 'Politics'

Thanks for the explanation. If I can restate what you are saying, I think it is the topicality of the war references that triggers the aesthetic tripwire. Just to make it completely explicit, I gather you are associating Hunter with relatively orthodox anti-war left wing ideology? Southeast Asia is obviously the urtext for the 60s antiwar movement, and the Reagan administration was providing support for the government of El Salvador which was regarded by many as supporting human rights violations. So, when you hear those places named in the song, it triggers specific associations to the political conflicts over those events, which clashes with the generally timeless/archetypal concepts of the band's songs.

I think those are accurate and valid associations, but I do not think they are actually central to the meaning of the song, and Jerry doesn't start singing "Why didn't people vote for Mondale?" or anything that drags the song down into polemic.

Let me try to put it another way - you could stretch and say that "Wharf Rat" is a political song about the mistreatment of handicapped alcoholics who have to beg on the street for a dime for coffee, and urban decay. Of course, that's not what the song is really about - and honestly, I don't think "Standing on the Moon" is actually any more political than "Wharf Rat" despite the references. I think it is a song about loneliness and distance and wishing for human closeness.

Now, let me flip around and say that I think it is true that Hunter kind of messed up with the lyrics that bother you - because I think the topicality of the war references does undermine the "universal" aspect of the song. It's kind of like a version of "Wharf Rat" which is set in Detroit and makes reference to factories closing down - the specific historical references can distract from the real message.

Still, I think in performance the intended meaning of SotM comes through, because the emphasis and weight of the song is on the "Be with you" idea - you say you don't have any performances of it in your collection (color me shocked!) but Jerry would usually do an extended series of vocal variations that made the song hit a very deep, emotional place. I've linked this show before, but here is a Late Late version where Garcia gives a really exquisite vocal performance - in terms of control and expressiveness and dynamics, he could do things at the end that had never been possible before, because of the removal of stage monitors. The vocal on this recording is just achingly crisp and clear.

http://www.archive.org/details/gd94-10-05.sbd.unknown.6483.sbeok.shnf

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Poster: AltheaRose Date: Aug 20, 2011 9:19pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Dead and 'Politics'

Well, the topicality (in the sense of loss of universality), but also the shallowness, glibness and predictability of the rapid-fire references. I guess I could be categorized as a pretty "orthodox anti-war left wing" person (at least by my parents, LOL, who think I'm the Family Communist), but in fact I tend to react very strongly against over-generalization and sweeping assessments that seem kneejerk. The "One From Column A, One From Column B" tour of the World's Problems does trigger my standard Annoyance Reaction. I know this is being glib myself, but it just seems like something written to be performed on Live Aid. (OK Jerry, join in the chorus of "We are the world ...")

Do you happen to remember a song from the '80s called Botswana? It had lyrics about "children with flies in their eyes." It annoyed the heck out of me even then because Botswana has actually been one of the few true African success stories. It's got all kinds of issues with AIDS now, but it's been stable and a pretty good place to live and in the '80s it certainly did NOT suffer from famine like, say, Ethiopia. (Which is really really FAR from Botswana. Sheesh, news flash to songwriters: countries are different.)

The lyrics here trigger the same annoyance over global cliches. Interestingly, Throwing Stones does not. (And, um, Wharf Rat would definitely have been destroyed by topical references to the homeless in Detroit! I shiver at the very thought. Although I actually can like topical references a lot. Done right.)

Yeah, I'm very weak on Late Dead. I'm sure I don't have a huge collection compared to other folks here (I have not exceeded 10,000 songs like CC!), and what I have is mainly from the first 20 years. I'm learning a lot from what you post! I like to think there's neat stuff later on; it's just, well, limited time, plus I don't love the MIDI, plus I can only buffer piecemeal (can't easily stream a whole show). I wasn't a particularly "active Deadhead" after the mid 80s and Jerry's death was definitely a kind of closure for me for a long time; I just started listening a lot and collecting a lot after I found the archives a couple years back, so I've got a lot to learn! I really was not aware of some of the later tunes like SotM until recently. Sad but true :-)



This post was modified by AltheaRose on 2011-08-21 04:19:17

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Poster: William Tell Date: Aug 20, 2011 9:19pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Dead and 'Politics'

I never even heard of the song; I thought it was a Police cover for a while til someone here explained it to me...

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Poster: AltheaRose Date: Aug 20, 2011 9:35pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Dead and 'Politics'

Now that's a scary thought. I also can't stand the Police. Hey, this can turn into a thread about All Things Annoying in Music! :-)

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Poster: William Tell Date: Aug 21, 2011 6:40am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Dead and 'Politics'

I was that way when I first heard them at the time, and for many yrs...but, if you are ever exposed to anyone that loves them, and watch them play day after day after day (DVDs and such), day in and day out because you are forced to, you may change...they are actually amazing. I hated to admit it, but the were. Now, Sting, etc., makes me gag, but the group, as a whole, I now really like. Never thought I'd say that....what about Talking Heads, Ramones and the Clash? You love them, right? Were the Police too pop?

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Poster: AltheaRose Date: Aug 21, 2011 6:48am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Dead and 'Politics'

Talking Heads, yes. Ramones and the Clash ... liked them OK, but not hugely. At that time I got into stuff that was either edgier or artier (Dead Kennedys, Pere Ubu, Au Pairs, Laurie Anderson, B52s, Violent Femmes, Love and Rockets) ... also folkier (The Roches, etc) but that's a whole other direction. I don't like Sting's voice (whiny, though not as whiny as Morrissey) and something about the beat and slickness just rubs me wrong. I do like REM; that's kind of pop-ish, I guess ...

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Poster: William Tell Date: Aug 21, 2011 7:04am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Dead and 'Politics'

Same view here at the time; it's the playing that hooked me...Sting is ONE of the best bass players, esp live, and that Copeland can drum. The lead player is okay, but the other two make that a band to contend with...and then once you're watching, the tunes start to seep in, and before you know it, you think the lyrics are good. It can happen.

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Poster: AltheaRose Date: Aug 21, 2011 7:23am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Dead and 'Politics'

Oh, I'd never say he's "bad" or anything ... I'm sure he's good, objectively speaking ... my ears just don't like it. Maybe like you and, say, '89 GD :-)

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Poster: William Tell Date: Aug 21, 2011 9:50am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Dead and 'Politics'

Actually, I'd say all his post-police stuff is "bad", both to my ear and objectively speaking (they are one in the same, n'est-ce pas?... ;) ). And when he opens his mouth anywhere but on stage, I always hate what comes out...what an egomaniac.

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Poster: elbow1126 Date: Aug 19, 2011 9:06am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Dead and 'Politics'

I always thought New Speedway Boogie was kind of political. At least it seems to be making more of a statement about society at that time.

Oops i see you covered that in an early response.

This post was modified by elbow1126 on 2011-08-19 16:06:28

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Poster: William Tell Date: Aug 19, 2011 9:41am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Dead and 'Politics'

Yes, I would say the personal/political/societal commentary, as noted by Rose, covers it, in a very individualistic fashion (we'd like to see the human race move forward a step or two, but think that can be achieved by each individual's actions, and we certainly are NOT in the position to tell you how or what to do to achieve this).

By and large, I see Hunter as a commentator on the Human Condition of the time, with lots of cynicism about the "system/establishment" but lots of love and hope for personal level interactions and folks that "do their own thing" and by so doing, if "good", do indeed (by the sum of their actions) move the human race ahead a step or two...

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Poster: William Tell Date: Aug 19, 2011 6:18am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Dead and 'Politics'...they weren't...

Of course, it's all in the ear of the beholder, but for me, for us at the time in the early 70s, the great appeal was that the DEAD were "apolitical" in a serious way...we were sick and tired of all the "causes", and political rallies--the folks with their "fist out" (or any cause for that matter)--made us squirm. It was time to realize that each individual, or small groups, living their particular way of life (which via the DEAD is a fundamentally "humanist perspective", but that's a whole other discussion...:)), was perhaps more important that effecting world change via the approaches adopted by various groups thus far (the prior ten yrs say).

This is not to say the Berk Free Speech nor CivRights, nor other movements were not highly valued, but that it was a turn away from the in your face, join up and stick it to the establishment overtly, that held value for many of us that were coming of age at a time when we were greatly disillusioned by the ineffectiveness of much of that way of dealing with the world. Again, I perhaps sound as if I am devaluing something like the war protests, which in the end, did have a strong effect, but this was not the "way of the DEAD", and we embraced that...

And not just cause we were wimps. I'd call it "informed cynicism, with a hint of self-indulgence".

Oh, FWIW, have you never danced at a local armory? We went to many--they were the local est available for such things when the civic center was closed/used...

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Poster: AltheaRose Date: Aug 19, 2011 6:33am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Dead and 'Politics'...they weren't...

Have you ever read the book by Candace Brightman's sister, "Sweet Chaos: The Grateful Dead's American Adventure"? Apparently it makes an effort to put the Dead into the radical political context of the time, which she was more involved with. I haven't read it; but I'm curious what take she has on the connections. Sounds like the book is rather forced, but the relationships (or intentional non-relationships) between the Dead and their "differently radical" peers could be interesting.

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Poster: bkidwell Date: Aug 19, 2011 12:16pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Dead and 'Politics'...they weren't...

I read "Sweet Chaos" but I don't have a particular recollection of the political content of the book. I enjoyed it and thought it was well researched and well written, but didn't really tell me anything that I hadn't already learned from a lot of other sources. I've got it on my bookshelf, I will try to find a few minutes to skim through it again and see how it relates to your question, AR.

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Poster: William Tell Date: Aug 19, 2011 6:48am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Dead and 'Politics'...they weren't...

Don't get me wrong, they were certainly at the center of the storm, and for the establishment, represented the hedonistic alt lifestyle that caused fathers to fear for their daughters (I can just imagine you and Ring and the heartache you caused? :) ), but in a "drop out,...live a good life, and be kind..." kinda way? IE, the connections to those folks were often not of their choosing, and I see Garcia as the ultimate cynic, ever retreating to do his own thing.

In essence, I see the DEAD as a huge flashing light for "do your own thing, don't hurt anyone while doing it if possible, and be wary of anyone with a cause". Seriously.

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Poster: BornEasement Date: Aug 19, 2011 8:17am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Dead and 'Politics'...they weren't...

For another perspective... I think someone like Harold Bloom would describe them as straddling the border between the "Green" (think pastoral and transcendant) and the "Black" (Apocalyptic, existential, eschatological) artistic ethea.

Generally the "red" (revolutionary, political, social-materialistic) paradigm was contained to those few bobby songs that have been listed here.

but then, if I wanted colours, I would just listen to Donovan.

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Poster: AltheaRose Date: Aug 19, 2011 6:52am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Dead and 'Politics'...they weren't...

Actually, that's how I tend to hear Cream Puff War. Which I think is a wrong interpretation ... it's just Jerry trying to express something he's observed about a relationship. But I hear parts of it as also expressing, "we're tired of you folks wallowing in anger and shouting it out on the streets." It's almost as if that aspect of his inclination comes out in a subtle way when he tried to be a more typical songwriter. Though probably I'm over-analyzing.

The funny thing is that I bet I went to more protests and so on over the years than Dead shows. I definitely did my share of planning rallies, handing out fliers, etc. (I mean, sheesh, just cuz I missed Vietnam didn't mean I had to miss the fun!) I didn't feel a contradiction, but I also would never say the Dead were political. Radical in their own way, sure, but not political as a band. (Whatever they might have thought or said individually ... or not.) Of course, you can always say "the personal is political," and then that covers just about everything :-)

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Poster: ringolevio Date: Aug 19, 2011 9:35am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Dead and 'Politics'...they weren't...

>be wary of anyone with a cause".

Estimated Prophet is in this vein also, altho more about steering clear of religious causes than political.

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Poster: matchstickstatue Date: Aug 19, 2011 9:00am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Dead and 'Politics'...they weren't...

I've always thought of the Dead's relation to real politics as comparable to Kerouac's. Burroughs nails it here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CD4ofEoUpxE

Certainly K was apolitical, and by the end even reactionary; but without that shining example, you don't have the progressive action of Ginsberg, Sanders and the wider 60s revolt, even if he grew to hate them (and himself) for it. Maybe I'm wrong, but I think you could say the same of the Dead, whose fruits in carrying that generation's legacy on to others weren't expected or desired by the band, but can certainly be traced back to a clear tree.

Incidentally, you can get the first half of that Firing Line episode, here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oaBnIzY3R00&;feature=related

We'll never get TV like that again.

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Poster: Finster Baby Date: Aug 19, 2011 6:35am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Dead and 'Politics'...they weren't...

Don't believe I've ever been to an armory for any reason, let alone dancing. I grew up, and as an adult still am, a suburbanite, so maybe that is why.
not aware of too many armories in the suburbs. At least, not in my neck of the woods. Rightly or wrongly, I always think of an armory as more of an urban thing!

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Poster: William Tell Date: Aug 19, 2011 6:44am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Dead and 'Politics'...they weren't...

Hey FB--do you know the Bay Area, like Rasta and a few others round here? They were often in distant towns, that were swallowed up by suburbia...EG, Walnut Creek, a classic suburb in the E Bay, had one in the downtown area, as they were always associated with civic land, and eventually, they are turned into "other things" but in the 50s-60s, early 70s, they were a bldg with a big aud, and had many a dance...ord & such stored nearby, and/or in the basement. So, you'd be surprised where they were originally, as long as your suburb started out as a small town way back when...

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Poster: adks12020 Date: Aug 19, 2011 5:35am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Dead and 'Politics'

I could be totally wrong on this but it seems to me that not many of the Dead's songs are all that political..and weren't intended to be. I recall hearing an interview or two where Jerry and Bob were asked about the "meaning" of the lyrics in a few songs and they basically said, and I'm paraphrasing, "well, we kind of have thoughts about what they mean but it is up to the listener to decide."

I mean many of them are defintely stories written in historical context but I don't think there are many of their songs that were meant to express a specific political viewpoint....more of just a here's a story about the time. You make of it what you will....again, I'm young and could be totally wrong but I have thought a lot about it.

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Poster: AltheaRose Date: Aug 19, 2011 6:17am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Dead and 'Politics'

Oh, I definitely agree. They're always so insistently non-political that it's interesting when they DO have a somewhat political song, or touch on it lightly, since it does end up having that same Dead-ish philosophy -- which isn't just "listen to the music play" (though that's part of it) but timeless and universal. The exception proves the rule. SotM may be the lone true exception, really.

The other "rule" being that the universality doesn't just apply to the World Outside (current events, politics, etc) ... there are very few songs that are self-revealing and personal and specific in the sense of angst, individual pain, etc. You sure won't get the sense that Jerry just broke up with his girl and is going to tell you all about it.

There are clear stories, but they're clear AS stories. Narratives that come from the folk tradition or COULD come from the folk tradition, witha story-like, Americana quality. So both the World Outside and the World Inside are universalized. If that makes sense :-)

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Poster: ringolevio Date: Aug 19, 2011 9:12am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Dead and 'Politics'

>SotM may be the lone true exception,

agree with what you are saying overall but must insist that Morning Dew is definitely a political (anti-nuke) song.

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Poster: AltheaRose Date: Aug 19, 2011 12:00pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Dead and 'Politics'

Yeah, that's its origins with Bonnie Dobson. I don't hear it that way, though; it just seems to have a different resonance. I feel like there are other layers that attracted the band in the context of what they were doing and that get conveyed beyond an actual post-nuclear apocalypse reading. But that's totally subjective, of course.

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Poster: ringolevio Date: Aug 19, 2011 12:17pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Dead and 'Politics'

Interesting.

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Poster: bluedevil Date: Aug 19, 2011 9:27am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Dead and 'Politics'

"Taking a shit is a political act, smoking it is a more political act."

http://www.archive.org/details/gd73-02-09.sbd.allred.9888.sbeok.shnf

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Poster: WillCo Date: Aug 19, 2011 2:11pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Dead and 'Politics' - Maples Pavilion show

That Wavy Gravy introduction was labelled on a tape I acquired long ago as "Wavy Gravy Rap". I remember being disappointed when it turned out not to be a new song! Actually, in view of the fact that loads of new tunes were debuted at this show, maybe I wasn't that stupid .... okay, okay maybe there's no excuse.

It's a very, very good show.

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Poster: ringolevio Date: Aug 19, 2011 10:23am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Dead and 'Politics'

Seems to me to be stretching a point ... sure, "anything" can be political, but then we dilute the term to meaninglessness. What would be a political song if an anti-nuke song is not political?

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Poster: snori Date: Aug 19, 2011 7:33am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Dead and 'Politics'

While not overtly political it is the case that they played at many benefit gigs, often for local pressure groups or environmental causes. I believe one was actually for a South-East Asian hospital that had been bombed during the Vietnam war (?). Latterly of course they designated some of their shows as 'Rex Foundation' fundraisers, which donated to many organisations including English Classical Orchestras.

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Poster: fireeagle Date: Aug 19, 2011 7:51am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Dead and 'Politics'

i am 60 and i also think that u r right

politics of ecstasy (..tim leary..) were the only politics the grateful dead were really deep into, throughout all the years (combined and melted into a dream)..

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Poster: Edsel Date: Aug 19, 2011 6:02am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Dead and 'Politics'

I'm old(er)(64), lived in it, and through it, and I think you're right.

"If you get confused, listen to the music play ...")

That's all folks.

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Poster: ringolevio Date: Aug 19, 2011 6:14am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Dead and 'Politics'

The wheel is turning ...

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Poster: Edsel Date: Aug 19, 2011 6:19am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Dead and 'Politics'

thankfully, stagnation seems like a dismal future.

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Poster: ringolevio Date: Aug 19, 2011 6:12am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Dead and 'Politics'

No, I think you're right ... more philosophical overall than political.

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Poster: lobster12 Date: Aug 19, 2011 8:27am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Dead and 'Politics'

I think many parts of We Can Run would fall under this catagory

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Poster: Mandojammer Date: Aug 19, 2011 8:39am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Dead and 'Politics'

Gaaaaggguuughhhhh.

I understand that's why Baskin-Robbins has 31 flavors, but this song always comes across as a very feeble attempt at jumping on the latest "cause" de jour.

I don't think I have ever heard the song in its entirety as I can't find the skip button or change back over to the Bluegrass channel on XM fast enough.

As far as the other songs? I think they are intentionally politically ambiguous and that's just what the boys intended.

(Note to Rob - is this a double split infinitive or is it two halves of an infinitive or have I had too much coffee?)

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Poster: lobster12 Date: Aug 19, 2011 8:58am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Dead and 'Politics'

Yeah, it's pretty heavy handed and there is no area of interpretation. Mydland pretty much hits you over the head with it.